Since it’s a party at the end of October, single dad Ford Meyers makes an honest mistake in thinking Officer Jennifer Haynes sports her sexy cop uniform in the spirit of Halloween—not for duty. Finally having a chance to speak to the one woman he’s noticed in this new town, he manages to move past his blunder and tends to the accident she reports. Meeting Jen comes through an unfortunate twist of law, but realizing she’s mutually interested in him? Definitely a plus.
Only, now what? Jen’s thrilled that she can officially break the ice with the tempting gym owner in her neighborhood. But how to approach him off the clock is another matter. One more trick brings them closer together, and it’s up to them to risk focusing on the treat of becoming intimate, or staying hindered by the obstacles in their way.
Hell. She knew who he was. Granted he was Cartford’s football coach and the game tomorrow night was all anyone within the town’s radius could talk about, it wasn’t too surprising. It shot a sense of pride through him that she was familiar with him to the extent of his name. At least it wasn’t the ever-so-common oh, you’re Peter’s and Nick’s dad, like his own identity was invalid forever. “Yeah,” he answered, hoping he wasn’t actually grinning as wide as his lips stretched.
Callouses weren’t what he’d expected when he shook her offered hand, but the warm strength in her grip intrigued him. Must do something other than that cardio on the sidewalks, then. An exercise-minded man himself, obviously, he couldn’t help but get excited they already had grounds for something in common.
“I’ve seen you around town,” she said as she cast her green-eyed gaze around his bare yet not naked living room. “But I’ve never had the chance to welcome you to town.”
Because she was the official welcoming committee? Nonetheless, he almost breathed in relief that he wasn’t alone in the occasional, deliberate glances they shared in the grocery store. The post office. That little dinky but aromatic café on Main. She’d noticed him. And knew his name. She was two-fer-one.
“No worries.” Further in the living room, he directed her to an empty space near the fireplace. Portraits of the twins hadn’t come out of the cardboard boxes yet, but it would soon resemble a space a family lived in. He hoped. “It’s been hectic getting settled in. So many new faces to meet.”
And yours has been on the top of my list.
“Want a beer? We have a few Sam Adams left, but we didn’t really have anything fancy to begin with.”
“Thanks, but no. No drinking for me. Not ’til I get off.”
“Like a post-orgasmic drink?”
Her laugh did spill out then, and he’d never been so giddy to hear a woman’s mirth. So raw and real. “What?” he asked around the stubborn smile he lost to. Until she got off… Oh fuck.
“Off the clock.”
Heat burned his neck, and he cleared his throat to resist the damn blush. “Oh. Ah. Okay.” What does she do?
With every stupid thing he uttered, her patience had to be wearing awfully thin. It seemed suddenly imperative he at least clue her in to an inkling of his interest in her. Before he screwed up his chance to small talk ever again. Or lost all his nerves. “I’ve gotta say,” he blurted, “and sorry for my forwardness. Or honesty—”
“Only way to go.”
Forward? Sure. Oh, she means honest. Well, right. “But your, uh, costume.”
She blinked three times. Slowly.
“Best outfit I’ve seen all night. I never,” he said and smoothed his palm over the back of his head, rubbing the bare skin, “realized how much I like the whole…” His hand ceased in his nervous tick and gestured at her. “The whole sexy cop thing. Guess I’m a sucker for a woman who looks badass in uniform.”
That grin returned and brightened her blank face. She crossed her arms and jutted a hip out. “Yeah?”
He shrugged, out of words and not brave enough to risk any more. His knowhow of flirting was beyond stale, maybe moldy with the sleazy way his words sounded as he replayed them in his mind. Too soon to hit on her. Too soon to… A groan built in his throat. It was premature. He couldn’t date yet. How could it ever work? He’d need a tutorial or something before he tried again.
“I’ll keep that in mind,” she said and nibbled on that bottom lip again. Was she teasing? She wasn’t glowering at him, so he couldn’t have sounded that lame.
“But for tonight, how do feel about a woman of authority?”
Is that a proposition? Ford had never really given any thought to dominance and all that kind of nonsense. He’d never had the chance to even consider a relationship since the day his sons were born. But hell, it wouldn’t bother him one second to be under her supposed control.
“Just … fine.”
“Then I need to speak with you about—”
“Jennifer?” The boom of a voice came from the front door which Ron had opened. Another guest? Whatever. It’d only be another couple of hours before he kicked everyone out for the night.
But, no… This man, stocky but huge with the beefed-up look some of Ford’s gym members tried for, was dressed exactly like—
Oh. Fuck. Me.
Minus the generous swells of tits, the gamine fairy-like curves of her sweet face, and the teasing lilt of her sensuous voice, this newcomer was too similar to Jen’s supposed costume.
I hit on a cop.